U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer met with rabbis of the Chabad-Lubavitch community on Thursday to mark the recovery of a Sefer from the Schneerson collection.
The Sefer is one of thousands seized by the Soviets during World War I from the sixth Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson. The collection had been passed down to his father, Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneerson, by his grandfather, and had belonged collectively to generations of Lubavitch Chassidim going back to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady, who began the collection in the 18th century.
Since 1992, just eight volumes of the collection have been returned to Chabad. The sacred library and archive consists of 12,000 books and 30,000 pages.
Earlier this year, Schumer and members of the entire U.S. Senate sent a letter to President Putin requesting the return of the Schneerson collection of sacred texts from the Russian State Library and the Russian State Military archive.
While Russia has not yet returned these sacred texts to Chabad, one volume was recently discovered at Kedem Auction House in Israel and returned to the Chabad. Today, Schumer celebrated the return of this book, alongside members of the Chabad community, and said that he will do everything in his power to fight for the return of the rest of the Schneerson Collection.
“The discovery of this sacred text in Israel is a simcha for Chabad and the entire Jewish community and I am grateful to have been a part of this joyous occasion,” said Senator Schumer. “However, we will not rest until the entire Schneerson collection is returned to Chabad and I will continue to fight for its return from Russia.”
Those in attendance at today’s celebration in Senator Schumer’s office included: Rabbi Chaim Cunin – Chabad House Publications; Rabbi Yosef Cunin – Beverly Hills Jewish Community; Rabbi Mendel Cunin – Chabad of Larchmont; Rabbi Zushe Cunin – Chabad of Pacific Palisades; Rabbi Levi Cunin – Chabad of Malibu; Rabbi Tzemach Cunin – Chabad of Century City; Rabbi Avrohom Litvin – Chabad of Kentucky; Zev Cunin – Son of Rabbi Yosef Cunin (age 8); and Chabad pro bono legal advocates: Steve Lieberman, Bob Parker, Nat Lewin, Alyza Lewin, Nechama Potasnick.
A copy of the letter sent to President Putin earlier this year is below:
The Honorable Vladimir Putin
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing respectfully to reaffirm our support and request for the return of the Schneerson collection of sacred texts from the Russian State Library and the Russian State Military Archive to its rightful owners, Agudas Chasidei Chabad of United States (“Chabad”).
On May 31, 1992, all one hundred members of the United States Senate appealed to then-President Boris Yeltsin to honor Russia’s commitment to return the collection to Chabad. On February 24, 2005, all one hundred members of the United States Senate again signed an appeal for your assistance in returning the collection. Copies of these letters are attached hereto. Since 1992, eight volumes of the collection have been returned to Chabad. We hereby respectfully request your assistance in seeing the return of the entire collection.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)